Fork & Salad

1349

Where freshness meets flavor on Maui

By Savy Janssen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When most people think of “farm to table,” they think of fine dining: candles and white linens, communicative servers explaining the origin of each menu item, and at the end of the meal, a big, fat check. Travis Morrin, along with his business partners Cody Christopher and Jaron Blosser, had a different vision.

What if supporting local agriculture was as fast and cost effective as getting lunch from Burger King? What would the impact be if Maui’s residents and visitors had healthier, local alternatives – all without breaking the bank? Enter Fork & Salad, where eating local and healthy can be enjoyed by everyone, every day. With a farm-to-table approach, the restaurant proudly partners with local farmers and suppliers to bring the finest, Maui-grown ingredients to consumers.

A Maui resident all his life, Travis Morrin grew up seeing the need to make the island more self-sufficient. Morrin inherited his love for cooking from his mother: As the oldest of four siblings, he often helped her in the kitchen to keep everybody fed. After attending Maui Culinary Academy at University of Hawai‘i Maui College, he began working at Longhi’s Wailea where he met his surfing buddies turned business partners, Christopher and Blosser. In 2009 they started Three’s Bar & Grill, an island-inspired restaurant and catering company in Kihei’s Kalama Village. With their feet now wet in the business owner waters, the trio saw further opportunity to get more of Maui to eat more of the food that is grown here.

“Our mission became to fill that gap on Maui: farm to table with convenience, affordability, and a fast casual style,” Morrin said. Hawai‘i’s geographic isolation in the middle of the Pacific used to cultivate incredible self-reliance and sufficiency. Under the Native Hawaiian ahupua’a system, Hawaiians worked, ate, farmed and fished within their localized territories, utilizing the natural resources available in sustainable ways.

Today, Hawai‘i is the biggest consumer of petroleum across the 50 states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one of the reasons being our reliance on the petroleum-fueled barges and planes that bring in most of our food and resources.

Fork & Salad rebels against that reliance by supporting local farmers, fisherman and products in each of its recipes – from Kumu Farms in Moloka‘i and Waikapu to Watanabe Farm in lower Kula. In recipes such as the Baked Ahi Melt, the restaurant uses an otherwise tossed cut, the ahi belly, from local fish suppliers and turns it into homemade tuna salad served with mac nut pesto, cheddar cheese, arugula, red onion, kimchee banana peppers, lemon-herb dressing and tomato. “We feel good about using a product that would otherwise be thrown away, and instead, making it into something delicious and serving it to the community.”

Fork & Salad offers more than 50 ingredients: five kinds of greens, 11 dressings and choices of surf, turf or vegetarian proteins that form a scrumptious list of healthy sandwiches, salads, soups and wraps. Since opening their first location in Kihei’s Azeka Mauka back in 2016, Fork & Salad has since expanded to Kahului in the Ho‘okele Shopping Center.

If you’d like to give their menu a try, Morrin recommends the popular Maui Goddess Salad featuring romaine, Green Goddess dressing, apples, strawberries, Moloka‘i purple sweet potato and blue cheese, priced at only $11.50. Maybe voting with your fork (and salad) to support locally and eat healthier doesn’t have to be hard or expensive after all.

Owners Jaron Blosser, Travis Morrin and Cody Christopher create culinary works of art featuring healthy, fresh ingredients. Bright and sweet creations like the “papaya dream salad” with ripe Kula strawberries, dried cranberries and feta cheese delight even picky eaters.

Papaya Dream Salad

8 oz papaya seed dressing (see accompanying recipe)
1 lb fresh cleaned local arugula
1 cup diced fresh ripe Kumu Farms’ papaya
1 cup sliced Kula strawberries
1 cup edamame beans
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 cup chopped and mixed cilantro and mint
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds

Using a large mixing bowl, toss arugula with papaya seed dressing. Place in a large salad bowl. Top the freshly tossed greens with each ingredient. Work clockwise in clusters around the bowl. Serve immediately as a table centerpiece to accompany the main meal.
Serves 6-8

Papaya Seed Dressing

1 cup ripe papaya flesh (about half a papaya)
1/4 cup papaya seeds (about seeds from half a papaya)
2 Tbsp rough chopped white onion
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup agave or honey
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 cup pure olive oil

Add all ingredients except oil to a blender. Blend on medium-high until seeds are ground finely, about 1 minute. Slowly stream in olive oil until dressing is thick and fully emulsified. Store in airtight container like a mason jar for up to 10 days.
Makes 40 oz.

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

8 oz papaya seed dressing (see accompanying recipe)
1 lb fresh local spinach
1 cup sliced roasted beets (see accompanying recipe)
1 cup shaved raw candy or golden beets
1  cup mandarin oranges
1  cup cubed Maui Gold pineapple
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 cup shaved green apple
1 cup toasted cashews
1 cup goat cheese

To make roasted beets

Place 1 lb unpeeled whole red beets (without tops) in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, add one cup of water to pan. Cover tightly with foil and roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Cool, peel and slice for service.

To make salad

Using a large mixing bowl, toss spinach with papaya seed dressing. Place in a large salad bowl. Top the freshly tossed greens with each ingredient. Work clockwise in clusters around the bowl. Serve immediately as a table centerpiece to accompany the main meal.
Serves 6-8 

 

These Maui farms and businesses provide ingredients and products to Fork & Salad

Aloha ‘Aina Organics
Escobedo Farms
Evonuk Farms
Home Maid Bakery
Kahanu ‘aina Greens
Kamuela Farms
Kumu Farms
M’alaea Farms
Maui Gold Pineapple
Otani Farms
Sugarland Farms
Pauwela Beverage Co.
Watanabe Farms
Kamaile Farms
Kula ‘aina Farm
Maiden Hawai’i Naturals
Maui Nui Farm
Oby’s Farm

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